The name of Mercedes-Benz is synonymous with the heritage of the motorcar, and the company has over the decades produced some of the finest examples of sporting machinery. Early forays into the competition world led to the production of some of the fastest touring cars of their day and an involvement with technical development that was unsurpassed. The post-war years saw the continued development associated with the Mercedes-Benz name, and, with the reintroduction of sports cars into the range, in 1952 the legendary 300 SL was born - a year in which it proved itself victorious at LeMans. First produced as a fixed-head coupe with gullwing doors, the 215 bhp, fuel-injected, dry sump engine provided the car with a ready following. The later development of a roadster on the spaceframe chassis offered an open alternative to the gullwing coupe, and was unrivalled at a time when there was nothing else available on the market with the same exhilarating performance, engineering excellence and purposeful elegance. The splendid example pictured above left the Mercedes-Benz works in 1959 and was first supplied to the renowned Baron Heini von Thyssen in Los Angeles. The car was ordered with, and still retains, the desirable factory fitted luggage and Becker radio. In 1984/85, substantial servicing and mechanical work was carried out by Gullwing Services, without a doubt one of the world's most respected 300SL specialists. There is some paperwork available confirming the work completed. In 1987 the car was imported into the United Kingdom and was later bought by entrepreneur Peter de Savary, residing in his Littlecote Collection for several years. In 1992 it was sold to its present owner. Before purchase a detailed inspection was carried out by 300SL expert Ron Waghorn, Service Manager for Mercedes-Benz dealer Rose & Young (Caterham) Ltd. The report indicated some minor recommended work, most of which has been subsequently completed. There are bills available amounting to $4,150 for these repairs. The car is finished in Fire Engine Red with beige interior and comes complete with a US title, an owner's manual, an original parts catalogue and a workshop manual.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1959 Mercedes-Benz 300SL

On 24th January 1995, Coys and the market determined that the value of this 300SL was $140,800 including commission which was the price it brought when it crossed the block.

This number fits well within the January Price Guide range of $125,000 – $185,000 for the slightly less desirable drum-braked models.

It’s hard to imagine a more finicky group than 300SL owners. To watch them judge at a Concours is to be an observer at an exercise of hair-splitting to a degree that would make a college faculty philosophy debate pale in comparison.

Thus, the fact that this car stopped mid-range would indicate that while attractive, it most likely had elements of its refurbishment that were less than top rate by 300SL standards.

300SLs continue to be the blue chip items of the collector car market, supplanting the former Rolls Royce and Bentley pre-war behemoths as market indicators. The key to doing well with an SL is to have a certified expert with you when you make your purchase, and to buy only the very best if the car is yours for long-term gain. Short term, you must be aware of the trading values of the car around the planet, and be prepared to pay retail on one continent if that equates to wholesale on another. – ED.

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